CHICAGO–As record floods and other natural disasters strike communities across the country, the Illinois Department of Insurance is reminding Illinois homeowners and renters to review insurance coverage to determine if flood insurance is required.
“Heavy rains and flooding can cause severe damage and devastate families,” said Jack Messmore, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance. “Since flood insurance coverage is not included in standard homeowner or renter policies and do not take effect for 30 days, consumers should learn about the limits and benefits of an insurance policy well before any damage may occur.”
The Department offers the following flood insurance information for property owners and renters:
• Call your insurance agent or company to inquire about the availability of flood insurance in your area. Keep in mind that flood insurance becomes effective 30 days after it is purchased, so the sooner you talk to your insurance agent or company the better.
• The average flood insurance policy costs a little more than $400 per year for about $100,000 of coverage. The actual cost to you will depend on where you live and the amount of coverage you choose.
• Standard flood coverage does not typically cover damage resulting from sewer backups or sump pump issues. Ask your insurance agent or company if such additional coverage is appropriate to add to your policy.
• There are steps you can take before a disaster strikes to make it easier to file and recover insurance claims. For example, homeowners or renters should take an inventory of their personal property and make photocopies of their insurance policies, keeping all such important papers in a secure location away from home. Taking pictures of various rooms and their contents is also a great way to document the contents. A sample home inventory sheet is available at the Department’s website or by clicking here.
• For more information about insurance coverage in the event of a flood or other disaster, visit the Department’s website, www.insurance.illinois.gov, or review the following consumer fact sheets:
Consumer Alert on Flood Awareness, found at: http://insurance.illinois.gov/HomeInsurance/disasters_flood.asp
What to Do After an Insured Homeowners Loss, found at: http://insurance.illinois.gov/HomeInsurance/disaster.asp
For more information on the availability of flood insurance in your area, and for additional tips on preparing for a flood, call the National Flood Insurance Program at (800) 638-6620 or visit NFIP’s Web site at www.floodsmart.gov.
Consumers in need of additional information or assistance can also visit the Department’s website at www.insurance.illinois.gov or speak to one of our insurance professional’s toll-free at (866) 445-5326.